About enjoylifedarnit

I am a blessed, deep-thinking woman who knows that it is a priviledge to be alive but struggles with some of life's harsher realities. At this point in my life, I feel that I am often having to create joy from small things to keep a positive attitude and move forward. It is a brave thing to do, and I believe it deserves to be documented, even if I am the only one who ever sees it.

Grand plans may feel grand, but if they aren’t sustainable, they aren’t always so grand.

I used to love making grand plans for ‘tomorrow’ and supposedly, days to come.  “Tomorrow, I’ll start waking up at 5:00 A.M., working out non-stop for an hour, eating 10 servings of vegetables every day, calling three of my family members/friends, being ultra-prepared for work (where I’ll arrive early so that I can meditate before starting), being caught up on email and all other correspondence, keeping the house decluttered”, blah, blah, blah…I’m tired just from writing this, and it’s far from being all that I would like to do in a day.  I have learned that the value of these grand plans has been in the negative realm.  Making such plans is a setup for failure.

I have done much better in life since focusing less on grandiose thinking and more on what I can truly, reasonably do from day to day.  It’s somewhat enjoyable to fantasize about being an ultra-disciplined, super-productive person, but it’s just not me.  I am disciplined and productive enough to function in life, but I also highly value experiences that have nothing to do with discipline or productivity.

When we engage in activities or a lifestyle that are not/is not sustainable for any reason, it can create some discomfort.  We know we shouldn’t or can’t continue, and this is internally disruptive.  Who has the time and energy for internal disruption?  Creating sustainable habits is a way of simplifying life.  If habits are sustainable, they are doable, and if they are doable, they can be done.  If they can be done, stress decreases because one is not trying to do the impossible.

What is working for you?  What isn’t working?  What activity could you decrease or increase for your own benefit?  What changes can you make?  That can last?

If you wonder whether you’re living the life you want, it probably means that you could do a better job of living the life you want.  Couldn’t we all?  Many of us “know” what to do to live a good life, but DO we?  Minutes are ticking.  How many remain?

The hero who can swoop in to rescue your life is you.  If you want to make changes, make changes of which you are capable.  If you sustain small changes, those changes can grow over time to help you create experiences that you want to have in life.  Haven’t we all said to ourselves and others, “Baby steps.”?  You read all of this when I could have simply written those two words!  Sigh-.

Figuring out what is most important to us- there is a different challenge.  For now, I’m going for the consistency of sustainability.  I can grow and improve my life from there.

 

 

 

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If you can’t chop, then chip

Occasionally, we have the opportunity to swing the axe and make a satisfying chop, so to speak.  We have a chunk of time and the focus to get something DONE.  These simple, short-term projects create some satisfaction in completion, but what about the ones that are long-term and/or complex?

like:

-organizing thousands of photos

-getting or staying healthy

-learning a new skill

-keeping in better touch with people who matter to you

These are just a few examples, but many, many more come to mind; this to-do-list-master could provide thousands.  If you’re anything like me, you’re in a constant state of feeling anywhere between a little behind and overwhelmed.  The problem that indicates, though, is thinking about too much at the same time, which indicates that I am not doing my best job of living in the present.

Argh!

Even living in the present, there are jobs to do.  Not only are there jobs to do, but there are also things we want to do that require our resources, and even those things that we want to do can start to feel more like burdens than releases of pressure.  Here, I encourage myself not to abandon what I want to do.

What can we do, then?  Give up?  If you want to make sure that you will get no closer to what you want, yes, give up.

If you don’t want to give up, then chip away.  Chip away at the obligations AND the “want to”s.  It’s just not always possible to chop.  Keep the axe in hand; use it to chip.  No matter what, action feels better than inaction when it comes to moving toward goals.  Something is truly better than nothing.

Including “want to”s in your life may cause you to feel like you’re getting less done, but they help you feel better about life.  And if you feel better about life, you may actually wind up accomplishing more because you’ll have more energy, inspiration, and joy than you would have without them.

Onward, with metaphorical axe in hand.

bad mood on Good Friday

That’s where overwork will land you- in a bad mood.  It’s my new challenge, dealing with a full work schedule.  Enjoying life is not what I have been doing.  So, back to thoughts and actions to help myself create moments where I am savoring life instead of sleep.

Thoughts go to a particular friend of mine who works very darned hard, pretty much all the time.  There is a voice in my head that wants to put myself down for not being as tough as she is.  I should be able to handle a full schedule and still feel happy at least sometimes, like she does.

Can I possibly accept myself in this moment as I am?  Can I accept my limitations and the weaknesses that woke up with me and made me grouchy with my first waking breath?  Can I only think about what I am doing, how I am living, and make decisions to help myself?

Don’t ‘they’ say that if you can conceive it, you can achieve it?

With that thought in mind, there are obligations I must fulfill today, but at least, among them, there will be consideration of myself.  I am a worthwhile consideration.  After all, if I fall apart, what can I accomplish?  Or enjoy?

Control tantrums

There are times when the fat cats make the wrong decision and the annoying consequences are yours.  Knowing what you know, the consequences will have a cumulative effect, repeatedly robbing your time and money.  Sounds like it’s time for a tantrum.  The anger is justified, but you’re in a danger zone.  If you throw a tantrum, you risk losing credibility.  If you accept circumstances too willingly, you risk losing your sense of spine (along with the time and money).

The middle ground is just too tricky to navigate in front of the fat cats, so here are some guidelines for managing at least partially-justified tantrums.

1)  Out of respect for those who are truly suffering, keep it down.  Losing time and money is a drag.  Going through something that causes you to lose hope is a devastation.  Know the difference and allow it to temper your tantrum.

2)  Respond honestly, but don’t be a jerk.  If you’re not happy, don’t pretend you are.  Don’t be rude, though, or speak too harshly.  If you’re a nice human being, you won’t like the echo of your rude or harsh words in your head later on.

3)  If you feel jerkness coming, delay your response.  This is the same concept as counting to 10, but you might need to count to 10 days (or longer) to calm down and access logic.

4)  Express your opinion.  Tell your safe people exactly what you think without censoring.  These people will be on your side, understand your point of view, and help you feel supported.  This helps the calming down process.  As soon as you won’t be a rude jerk, tell the fat cats your opinion.  Do so in a reasonable manner with lots of solid eye contact.

5)  Do not turn your anger inward.  It can be tempting.  Perhaps it’s a well-trod mental path.  You are not the fat cats.  It is not “safer” to be mad at yourself.  You are you, and you need to be friends with yourself to have the best life.  Be on your own side, make sure you have allies, and cope from there.

6) Lobby for change if possible, but if you’re a little mouse in a fat cat world, use your legs to find another way to your mousehole. There will be a way, whether it’s a shift in attitude or logistics. Not feeling resentment is the goal. When that’s reached, you can rest.

Winning or losing, bow out

Oh, the need to be loved. It’s what’s at the bottom of everything that delights and troubles us. When we’re still in the phase of sometimes (as opposed to almost always/always) realizing that we are loved, we keep competing, measuring, needing affirmation.

Depending on how we compete and compare, we can win, and it feels fantastic. That’s part of the problem. We want that feeling because it makes us feel worthy of love. Winners are lovable. Losers are losers.

What do we tell ourselves when we compete and lose? When we don’t measure up? Try harder? Compete harder? Use it as motivation to be better than others? The thought arises to give up. But that would be giving up! “Never give up!” Except when it might be the smartest thing we could possibly do.

When people are trying to best us and we have any shred of a competitive nature inside of us, it’s so easy to get sucked in- especially when we need love, which we just *do*.

Bow out, bow out, bow out. You’re the only you. They’re the only them. You’re alive right now, and you could be dead at any second. They’re alive right now, and they could be dead at any second.  Don’t bother competing with someone who isn’t you unless you want to play a game that is inherently unfair.

P.S.  I get that there are positive types of competition that are motivating and inspirational to people in a specific area; that’s different than what I’m talking about here, which is the rat racey stuff.

Allow random, tiny boosts to make you happy

If insignificant annoyances can make us more unhappy than they should, then why not mentally multiply the little positives that come our way? A couple months ago, a motorcyclist in a wildly-patterned riding suit that reminded me of a tiger eating flaming Doritos pulled up next to me as I drove to work. His face was hidden by a darkly tinted visor but he turned his head toward me, I turned to him and gave a little smile (who could help it, given what he was wearing?), and he nodded “hello”. Simple, quick, nothing life-changing; just a peaceful interaction between two strangers that made us both feel not ignored in the world for that second. It gave my mood a boost that day, and it even makes me smile to think about it now.

Today, Don Charisma started “following” my blog. Precious few follow my blog. What Don Charisma doesn’t know is that just this morning, I told my husband that I wanted and needed to get back to my blog because it truly does help me enjoylifedarnit. Hours later, Don Charisma of the earth randomly swooped in to say that he saw my blog, which feels like an approval of my “get back to it” thoughts…and I’m going to let that make me happy!

You’re you and nature’s nature

Blaming and taking credit for nature- both are tempting, but you can’t reasonably do both.  If you’re going to blame nature for weather or the existence of disease, for example, then you had better praise it for dazzling sunrises and the fact that we heal.

I confess that I have used nature to build and thrash my ego.  Inside myself, I have taken credit for the color of my hair and the beauty of the trees that were close to where I lived, among other things over which I have had no control.  It sounds ridiculous because it is ridiculous.  Even more embarassing:  When I was pregnant for a couple months, I actually felt proud, bordering on superior.  Then my pregnancies ended with no baby and how did I feel?  Rejected, humiliated, decidedly inferior to all mothers and even fathers.  Creating a strong relationship between nature and one’s ego can lead to a constant struggle due to the ever-present highs and lows that result.  “I” feel wonderful when flowers are growing in my front yard, but “I” feel upset when pests attack them.  The ego takes everything personally, but aren’t we so often and wisely advised against doing so?

I am me, a human being, living among thousands of equally important human beings.  Nature does what it does.  I have a strong and constant relationship with nature and its effects, but ought not use nature to decide how worthy or unworthy I am.  Does the fact that I am not fighting a deadly disease make me more lovable than someone who is?  Does my inability to sustain a pregnancy make me less lovable than women who can?

Decreasing the ego has to be a deliberate process in this society in which it dominates.  A smaller ego, though, is worth the effort.  Life goes from getting lost in thoughts about how good or bad one is to actually being involved in moments, living.  When there is positive news, one can simply feel happy rather than justified.  When there is negative news, one can simply feel sad rather than attacked.

Be yourself, let nature be itself.  There is a necessary relationship between you and nature, but let it be one without inappropriately ascribed credit or blame.